Bell County Public Health District (BCPHD) is once again asking residents to please take every precaution to help slow the spread of COVID-19 following a post-Halloween surge in cases.

The BCPHD on Monday reported a drastic increase in cases, and that it has changed the COVID-19 threat level to reflect the severity.

"We were expecting a post-Halloween spike any day and we saw it hit today with 124 new cases received today alone," Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell, PhD said Monday "There were some additional cases reported over the weekend and a few added cases for Friday bringing us to a total of 6,903 cases and 6,287 recovered. We currently have 616 active cases and our incidence rate spiked to 169.7 per 100,000 in the County."

As a result, Dr. Chadwell said, BCPHD changed the county's COVID-19 threat level from Level 3: Moderate, Controlled Transmission to Level 2:Significant Uncontrolled Community Transmission.

"With this kind of a spike from Halloween we are certainly apprehensive about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and we implore our residents to take every available measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19," Chadwell added. "We have shown that we can do this with diligent use of social distancing measures, masking, avoidance of gathering, and staying home when sick. Please be vigilant and, if we all work together, we can drive these numbers back down."

This is unwelcome news to all, but especially those of us who care for family members who are particularly vulnerable to worst complications COVID-19 can cause.

Please continue wearing a mask when physical distancing isn't possible and being mindful of the cleanliness of your hands, as well as what you're touching. You could save the life of someone who means the world to one of your neighbors.

You can see the latest Bell County COVID-19 numbers on the BCPHD Dashboard.

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